Across my portfolios of Corrections, Associate Education, Associate Primary Industries and Associate Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, there is a topic about which I am passionate.
That is expanding the pipeline of people into employment and training.
We have a skills shortage in New Zealand.
I believe that by expanding this pipeline we can make a significant contribution to New Zealand’s continued economic growth and productivity and also help build strong, cohesive, and successful communities.
Improved outcomes for youth
Educational attainment is a critical pathway to improved outcomes for at-risk youth, migrants and jobseekers and, and along with it, their families, communities and New Zealand as a whole.
The world of work is rapidly changing and it is through our education system, careers advice and businesses that this Government can help New Zealanders connect to the knowledge and skills needed for lifelong success and enable them to compete on the global stage.
When I think of what an improved education sector and careers system looks like, it is one that delivers real results for real people.
A strong, connected education sector and careers system is great for everybody. There are some things we can all do to keep the needs of the learner at the forefront of everything we do.
New framework coming
Bringing to life the Government’s new Employability Skills Framework will be vital in supporting New Zealanders to navigate the labour market of the future.
These are the transferable skills that New Zealand and international employers tell us are essential for getting and keeping a job – skills like a positive attitude, willingness to learn and resilience.
As the demand for skills changes to accommodate technology, employers will be placing more and more importance on these ‘employability skills’ alongside qualifications.
We know that traditional delivery models in tertiary education will be placed under greater pressure. Learners and employers are demanding more relevant and flexible delivery from providers in an increasingly global market.
From July 1, Careers New Zealand’s functions and staff were transferred to the Tertiary Education Commission.
Our Government’s decision to bring both organisations together has the needs of New Zealanders firmly in mind. For the first time, investment in tertiary education will be directly supported by careers information, products, and services.
Employers will benefit from stronger connections with schools and tertiary providers, enabling them to more directly influence the skills pipeline – learners will know what employers need and will be ready for the world of work.
We also want our industry training system to contribute to better lives for all New Zealanders.
That is why, this Government is continuing to support growth in apprenticeships and industry training.
Recently, we announced that we are allocating a further $7 million over four years on top of the additional 2016 funding of $14.4 million to support industry training growth.
Industry training plays a huge role in supporting New Zealand’s economy by providing life-long learning opportunities and industry-relevant education.
By broadening the reach of industry training organisations, diversifying partnerships with industry, and strengthening connections between individuals and the world of work, I believe we can make even more progress.
Louise Upston is Associate Minister of Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment.